Capitalising on success is vital.
I think we (Great Britain) as a country can learn a lot from Spain and the way they and others do things.
Spain of course has Rafael Nadal as their leading light in tennis and he is a god here but it goes deeper than that.
The country hosts events in Barcelona (men) Mallorca (ladies) and Madrid (men and women) on the main calendar tour and is always a sell out and engages with young people. How do they do that?
Make it fun!
I think it is criminal in all honesty that Wimbledon and other events in Great Britain don’t have a ‘kids day’ or ‘family day’. Over 90% of tournaments do, families can go along and have fun and remember a great day out!
One of the best I witnessed was at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open, they have it nailed down.
Why don’t Wimbledon? Is it tradition? I think there is still too much attached with the sport being for privileged people only at home and it comes across like it at a few events and it needs to change if they want an increase in growth.
Madrid during the week had a family day where kids came and practiced with tennis players and had fun!
There were schools practicing on the practice courts and being given a tour of the facilities with Federer practicing two courts away!
Not only fun on the court but Madrid and also Melbourne had some great games inside to interact with!
Serve gun (which I did bad at)
Have a photo with the trophy
Have a photo on Marca front cover
Kids remember things like that and it goes far!
what else does help is how accessible tennis is right now in Madrid!
Within 20 miles of Madrid city centre there are 17 tennis clubs where you can go play which is good. It’s a sport which has grown massively thanks to success of players but also capitalising on opportunities.
Where I live at home there are 4 in the same radius…
However pricing. For me to hire an indoor court for an hour is £22, £12 for outside. In Spain? I’ve seen some for €9 !
Make it accessible!
Another problem we have is our schools.
During my 5 years at secondary school I can honestly say we didn’t even do 10 weeks of tennis and that’s one lesson a week…
We had no choice! we had to do a good 6 weeks a year on Rugby, Cricket etc…
should we have a choice? I think so!
In my final year you got to chose so I chose tennis!
Where is that option from an early age?
There is a lot to learn and it isn’t difficult.
Recent year or so the Rafael Nadal academy got launched in Mallorca and yes it is costly but if you have your heart set on it people will send their kids there.
I saw some of their work in Madrid and they do a good job. You can also buy week/month training camps for adults and kids.
The main thing? It has people talking and that’s what it does and every event they have been there promoting!
I’m not saying find a patch of land and build a tennis academy in the name of Andy Murray for example but more has to be done.
Not long ago the LTA have lost the World Tour Finals as of 2021 and must fight for a replacement but have also named the challenger event in Glasgow as the Murray Trophy…
Lovely gesture and about time but surely that can’t be it? Naming of a challenger event??
Nadal has a stadium named after him in Barcelona, he’s a living god win or lose.
We can learn a lot from Spain.
The option on a regular basis has to be there to play tennis from an early age as a kid, tournaments have to be more accessible and family friendly! We don’t want to be sat here in 10 years time going backwards.